State Hosts Meeting on Lahaina Ferry Improvements

June 25, 2014, 9:29 AM HST · Updated June 25, 9:55 AM
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Hōkūle‘a arrival at Lahaina, Maui. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Vessels off of Lahaina Small Boat Harbor. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

A Final Environmental Impact Statement for proposed ferry pier improvements at Lahaina Small Boat Harbor will be discussed during a public informational meeting on Wednesday, July 2, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced.

The new ferry pier will be used to accommodate the Lānaʻi-Maui and Molokaʻi-Maui ferries, as well as cruise ship tenders, commercial, and recreational vessels.

Expeditions currently operates five daily round trips between Lahaina and the Mānele Small Boat Harbor on Lānaʻi, seven days a week; and Sea Link Hawaiʻi operates two round trips daily between Lahaina and Kaunakakai on Molokaʻi, according to the Final EIS.  The harbor also serves anywhere between 2 and 11 cruise ship calls per month between September and May, with 79 cruise lines utilizing the docking facility last year.

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The project is aimed at addressing increased future capacity demands, relieving congestion in the harbor, and improving efficiency of harbor operations.

Lahaina Small Boat Harbor project area diagram courtesy DLNR via Munekiyo & Hiraga/Final EIS.

Lahaina Small Boat Harbor project area diagram courtesy DLNR via Munekiyo & Hiraga/Final EIS.

State officials say the scope of the project was reduced to address public comments from an earlier Draft EIS.

Revisions include the following:

  • The elimination of original plans to widen the harbor basin through dredging due to potential impacts on coral.  According to the Final EIS, the dredging required to widen the berthing area to the north of the pier, will be confined primarily to the inshore terminus of the entrance channel.
  • The size of the new interisland ferry pier was also reduced to a width of 20 feet, instead of the original plans of 35 feet.
  • The construction of an open-sided roofed structure to shelter passengers arriving and departing from Lahaina.  The structures will be connected and stand 14 feet tall, instead of the originally proposed 17-foot height.
  • Plans for a ticket booth and parking on Papelekane Street have since been eliminated from the plan.
  • There will also be a reduced number of piles to 75.
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The 115-foot long pier will be constructed on piles and located approximately 60 feet to the north of the existing pier, according to the state announcement.

The Final EIS stated that additional supporting improvements include: the construction of two sewage pump-out stations; construction of a concrete pedestrian walkway to connect the existing pier to the new pier structure; replacement of the existing Harbor Master’s office; improvements to the passenger loading area; sidewalk expansion along Hotel Street; and resurfacing a portion of Wharf Street.

The meeting will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the West Maui Senior Center, located on Pauoa Street in Lahaina.

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